"It's been hard. Really hard.''
Running back Aaron Greving was standing in today's afternoon sunshine outside the Hayden Fry Football Complex, talking about Iowa's recent football frustration against Iowa State.
The thing that makes it harder for Greving to accept than some of the other Hawkeyes is that he's from Ames, where Iowa State is located.
"I never thought I'd be around to see Iowa State beat Iowa—and now it's happened four times in a row,'' Greving said. "One of my goals when I came here was to beat Iowa State every time, but it hasn't happened.
"But I still have two games left, and I'll see what I can do to turn that around.''
However, the status of the 207-pound junior for Saturday's 5:05 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium isn't all that certain.
He's listed as the starter. Asked if he thinks he actually will start, he said, "I think so.''
But Coach Kirk Ferentz wasn't that sure about a player who has missed the Hawkeyes' first two games because of a high ankle sprain.
"Greving worked out before the game at Miami of Ohio last Saturday, and got better over the weekend,'' Ferentz said. "We'll give him a shot today in practice. There's a chance we'll get him back, and I hope we will.''
But will he start, Kirk?
"We'll make that decision as the week goes on,'' he said. "I don't want to give a lot of thought to it until we see him at full-speed. If he's full-speed, then I think we have two starters, which is great.''
In other words, don't forget Fred Russell. Russell has started the Hawkeyes' first two games, and ranks second nationally with a 160-yard rushing average.
Greving estimated he's at about 95 percent for Saturday's game, which is sold out and will be televised by ESPN2.
"I was a little winded in our workout Sunday,'' Greving said. "Running is a little different than riding a bike.''
Greving, who was born in Des Moines but had an outstanding high school career at Ames, said he attended Iowa State games in junior high.
"I considered going to Iowa State when I was a high school freshman, but I began talking with Iowa's coaches after my sophomore year,'' he said. "I committed to Iowa in my senior year.
"The Iowa State coaches were kind of angry that I didn't go there. I don't blame anyone for not liking me for not going there, but that's a decision I made. Iowa City has been the best place for me, and it's been a great experience.''
Greving said one of "my good buddies'' on the Iowa State team is Joe Woodley of West Des Moines, a former Valley High School standout who is a Cyclone fullback and linebacker.
"I went to the Shrine Bowl with him my senior year of high school, and we got to know each other,'' Greving said. "As soon as the kickoff comes, we're not friends anymore.''
It also pains strong safety Bob Sanders that Iowa has lost four consecutive games to Iowa State.
"It hurt real bad to see the seniors leave last year without winning in the series,'' the 194-pound junior said. "A lot of guys were down after we lost at Ames in November.
"It was a horrible feeling, and it's not something I want to go through again. I feel it's time for us to (win).''
Sanders hopes the Hawkeyes' emotions will be stronger than they were in the 17-14 loss at Ames last Nov. 24 in a game that was delayed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I don't think we were ready to play in the first half of that game,'' said Sanders, who led Iowa with 14 tackles. "This week our game plan is to start fast and put some hits on them right away.''
Iowa State jumped to a 14-0 halftime lead before Iowa tied it with two third-quarter touchdowns. Tony Yelk's 32-yard field goal won it for the Cyclones in the final period.
Ferentz said he thought about the early lack of emotion against the Cyclones, and couldn't put his finger on the reason.
"It was a holiday week—after Thanksgiving,'' he said. "It didn't affect Iowa State. They played the full 60 minutes. Hopefully, our guys will be ready to play the full 60 minutes this time.''
Here & There
Ferentz called the arrest early Sunday of C. J. Barkema "an embarrassment to all of us as a team and is a poor reflection on me. I'm not a good communicator.'' Barkema was charged with public intoxication and criminal mischief. Hours after returning with his teammates from a 29-24 victory at Miami of Ohio, Barkema was accused of pushing over a motorcycle that caused $300 damage, and having a blood-alcohol of .213. Barkema is a redshirt freshman tight end from Muscatine. "C. J. is a tremendous young man, but he made a very poor decision,'' Ferentz said. "He will not be with us this week, and then he'll move forward with us next week''....Ferentz said Iowa has a "great challenge'' in Iowa State. "Iowa State is a fine team,'' he said. Ferentz said Cyclone quarterback Seneca Wallace is "one of the top performers in the country—as good as I've seen.''....Ferentz said the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry "was one-sided for so long. Now you can argue that it's the other way around. Iowa State has won the last four games, and has done a great job. That's a reflection of the job Dan McCarney has done as Iowa State's coach. It wasn't a very competitive series when I left here (after being an assistant) in 1989, but it certainly has flipped around now. We're working our tails off to make it go to where it's at least even.''....Iowa won 15 consecutive games in the series before Iowa State began its streak of four with a 27-9 victory at Kinnick Stadium in 1998....Is this McCarney's best team? "You'd have to ask him that,'' Ferentz said. "With all due respect, they had a very good team last year, and their team two years ago was excellent. The (key) is having a veteran quarterback.''....Ferentz said Wallace "makes throws you can't believe. If we're not playing pass defense, we're going to get picked apart. He can pull it down and run, too.'' Asked if he wants his players to make Wallace run, Ferentz said, "I'd rather he just not come to the game, if you want to be honest about it. He's a competitor. It's kind of like pick your your poison.''
Vol. 2 No. 59
Sept. 10, 2002
[Ron Maly's e-mail address is email@example.com ]